United Nations (New York)

13 February 2013

Africa: European Union 'Steadfast Partner' for UN in Trying to Steer Global Community Away From Conflict Towards More Peaceful, Secure World, Security Council Told

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High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Briefs, as Council Considers Issue of Cooperation with Regional Organizations

The European Union harboured a strong belief in effective multilateralism and would remain a steadfast partner of the Security Council in its great responsibility of steering the international community away from conflict and confrontation towards a more peaceful and secure world, its High Representative pledged today, as she addressed the 15-member body.

Briefing the Council as it considered cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, Catherine Ashton told its members: "In carrying out your tasks, you can count on the full commitment and support of the EU." The European Union, through its development cooperation and political support, contributed to lasting security, deep democracy and prosperity, she said.

Its contribution was three-fold: its ability to marshal a wide range of instruments for a comprehensive approach; its direct involvement in international negotiations, including mediation, on the international community's behalf; and its close work with international and regional partners, of the view that only collective efforts could deliver results. The Union also had a range of tools with which to respond to a crisis, be it humanitarian, security or political.

Ms. Ashton highlighted the Union's long-standing engagement in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, which, in close cooperation with the United Nations, had contributed to the recent breakthrough in both the political process and in terms of security in that region.

Its support of Mali took the form of security-related measures, such as its training mission to help restructure the Malian army. Its political support focused on concrete implementation of the road map, the electoral process and, importantly, inclusive national dialogue.

The Union was also determined to works towards a solution of the Iranian issue based on the dual-track approach of pressure and engagement, she said, adding that it would also strive to build a firm and unified response to this week's nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to demonstrate that there were consequences for such continued violations.

In Serbia and Kosovo, the restoration of peace was not easy for either side, but both knew they had the Union's full support, she said. The group was also working closely with partners to address some of the most difficult challenges to international peace and security - in the Middle East and Syria.

When the floor opened to Council members, the representative of Luxembourg - one of the 27 member States of the European Union - said that, together with the United Nations, the two organizations shared a "peace project", with the goal of promoting peace and preventing future generations from the scourge of war.

The bloc remained a unique model of cooperation and integration in the service of peace and security, said France's representative, noting the Union's role in the heart of Africa and the Balkans, in Syria and Iran. The General Assembly, in an earlier resolution, had called the Union a partner and a friend of the United Nations, not only as a regional organization, but also as "a pillar of a coherent and effective international system".

Morocco attached great importance to that cooperation, said its representative, of the view that the Union was making a significant contribution to conflict resolution, through its technological and economic assistance and its weighty and cumulative experience with several regions. Also noteworthy was its "neighbourhood policy", with countries to the east and south. In the Mediterranean, that relationship had promoted economic development, democracy, and the integration of the six countries in the Mediterranean basin.

Also making statements were the representatives of Azerbaijan, Australia, Guatemala, China, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Togo, Russian Federation, Argentina, United States, Rwanda, and the Republic of Korea (national capacity).

The meeting was called to order at 10:19 a.m. and adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to consider cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, for which it was expected to hear a briefing by the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Briefing

High Representative CATHERINE ASHTON said the European Union's contribution was three-fold: its ability to marshal a wide range of instruments for a comprehensive approach; its direct involvement in international negotiations, including mediation, on the international community's behalf; and its close work with international and regional partners, of the view that only collective efforts could deliver results. A particular strength was the Union's ability to respond to a crisis with a wide range of tools, short- and long-term, humanitarian and development, security and political.

She highlighted the Union's long-standing engagement in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, which, in close cooperation with the United Nations, had contributed to the recent breakthrough in both the political process and in terms of security in that region.

Through its missions, the Union had contributed to greatly reducing piracy, which dropped by 95 per cent over the past two years. Through its development cooperation and political support, it contributed to lasting security, deep democracy and prosperity. It was imperative that everyone join in supporting Somalia to ensure effective and continuous progress.

The Union's support to Mali and the Sahel was also in the context of its comprehensive engagement, she said.

The current crisis in Mali was a "challenging test case": the threat posed by terrorist groups was not only a threat to the existence of one country, but to the security of a region and the international community, and it called for swift and coordinated international action, for which the United Nations was playing a leading role. The situation on the ground was changing rapidly, thanks to France's intervention.

Continuing, she noted rapid advances in liberating northern Mali, and progress by the Malian authorities regarding the road map to restore democracy and constitutional rule, as well as faster deployment of the African-led International Support Mission, known as AFISMA. For all that, challenges and threats remained.

The European Union's comprehensive approach was an integral part of that international response: humanitarian aid had been increased from €58 million in 2012 by an additional €20 million.

The Union, she added, had also contributed to settling that situation through security-related measures, such as its training mission to help restructure the Malian army under civilian authority. It had given considerable financial and logistical support to AFISMA and had made available €50 million through the African peace facility. It had also established a clearing house to channel national contributions.

All in all, the Union's political support to Mali focused on supporting the concrete implementation of the road map, support for the electoral process and, importantly, an inclusive national dialogue, especially with representatives from the north.

It had also provided economic support by resuming development aid; it was contributing more than €250 million for new projects across the entire country and for budgetary assistance.

It was important that Malian authorities investigate all allegations of human rights abuses, she said, adding that the Union welcomed the decision by the International Criminal Court to open investigations. Lasting peace and reconstruction required long-term commitments by the international community.

The donors' conference in January, as well as the Support and Follow Up Group on the situation, helped to mobilize international support. However, more was needed. The Union would play its role in the broader framework of its Sahel strategy.

Turning to the Iranian nuclear issue, she said that it topped the international agenda, and based on the mandate received from the Security Council and together with the "E3+3", the Union was engaging in intensive diplomatic efforts to seek a negotiated solution that met the international community's concerns.

After lengthy consultations, the next round of talks, to be held on 26 February in Kazakhstan, had been agreed. "We hope Iran will come to this negotiation with flexibility and that we can make substantial progress," she said.

The Union remained determined to works towards a solution of the Iranian issue based on the dual-track approach. Undoubtedly, the pressure of sanctions had been instrumental in bringing Iran back to the negotiating table, but sanctions could not be an end in themselves; the key was for Iran to comply fully with its international obligations.

Like the Security Council, the European Union had condemned in the strongest possible terms the latest nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which was a further blatant challenge to the global non-proliferation regime and an outright violation of that country's international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons.

It was vital that the international community stay united and determined. The Union would help to build a firm and unified response to demonstrate that there were consequences for such continued violations.

"We once again urge the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, including its uranium enrichment programme, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," she said.

Concerning Serbia and Kosovo, she noted an agreement to take forward the implementation of Integrated Border/Boundary Management, and, as a result, four gates were now open and fully operational.

There was also an agreement on arrangements for the protection of religious and cultural heritage, as well as on the appointment of liaison officers to be hosted in the European Union's premises in Belgrade and Pristina. The process was not easy for either side, but both knew that they were doing the right thing and that they had the Union's full support. She also counted on the Council's support.

The Union was also working closely with partners to address some of the most difficult challenges to international peace and security, she said, highlighting the Middle East peace process and Syria.

In the Middle East peace process, the time had come for concrete steps, for which direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions were needed in order to achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two States - a solution that addressed both the Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, and the Israeli concern for security.

"The EU position remains that we will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties," she said, suggesting the following parameters as a basis for the resumption of talks: security arrangements that respect both sides and prevented the resurgence of terrorism; an agreed just and fair solution to the refugee question; and fulfilment of the aspirations that Jerusalem be the future capital of both States.

She highlighted the role of the Secretary-General in the Quartet and the important work done by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), adding that regional involvement was crucial.

In its efforts to support Syria, the Union, she said, was coordinating with all partners in support of United Nations' efforts and stood firmly behind the complex mission of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi.

With the right conditions and a timetable for discussions, as well as important confidence-building measures, it might be possible to build new momentum on what had so far been a most difficult challenge. European Union-wide sanctions had been imposed against the regime and the Union was also working on improving the operational capacity of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, which it accepted as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

Concluding her briefing, she said the European Union harboured a strong belief in effective multilateralism and wished to be a good and supportive partner for the United Nations. She acknowledged the great responsibility of the Security Council in steering the international community away from conflict and confrontation. "In carrying out your tasks, you can count on the full commitment and support of the EU," she said.

Statements

GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) stressed the importance of the European Union's role in delivering effective multilateralism and underscored several aspects of its contribution to the work of the United Nations.

The bloc remained a unique model of cooperation and integration in the service of peace and security. The Union played such a role at the heart of Africa and the Balkans, promoting dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. He welcomed the meeting of the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo in Brussels last week. France hoped that the dialogue, which had confirmed the desire of both parties to normalize their ties, would enable the two sides to "turn a page" in their relationship.

The Union also played an important role in Africa, supporting the African-led International Support Mission in Mali through financial assistance that covered salaries of troops, he said. Further, he appreciated the Union's training programme to build security capacity in Mali, with a view to forming four battalions each consisting of 650 Malian soldiers.

He went on to acknowledge the Union's comprehensive approach in economic assistance to Mali. The Union was also supporting a democratic transition in Syria, imposing a wide range of sanctions against the Assad regime. With €400 million in humanitarian aid, the Union had also helped alleviate the plight of the Syrian population, including refugees.

On the Iranian nuclear issue, France appreciated the High Representative's intense efforts and her exemplary commitment to keep the door to dialogue open. Another meeting of the E3+3 with Iran would take place on 26 February in Almaty, Kazakhstan, providing Iran with an opportunity to regain the trust of the international community.

The Union supported the Security Council on several cross-cutting issues, including the role of women. Afghanistan was a case in point, with the Union making efforts to increase female police officers in that country. The General Assembly resolution 65/276 established that the European Union was a partner and friend of the United Nations, not only as a regional organization, but also as "a pillar of a coherent and effective international system".

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said that establishing international peace and security could not be achieved independently; cooperation and assistance among responsible actors was vital. Patterns of cooperation had already been established in the areas of peacekeeping and conflict prevention, human rights protection, sustainable development, and the fight against terrorism and other criminal activities, to name a few. The cooperation and continued cooperation of the European Union to those efforts were indispensable. The situation in the Middle East still topped the agenda, as the region had experienced conflicts and insecurity for decades, and was undergoing a profound transformation over the last two years. The international community must be more consolidated and consistent to help those States through their difficult times and in finding a lasting and peaceful solution.

He said that in Mali, where decisive action had produced significant results, it was essential that the international community stand ready to undertake efforts in peacebuilding, governance, and security sector reform. The protection of civilians in armed conflict and rule-of-law issues attracted increasing attention, yet the international community could not approach those matters selectively or remain indifferent to the use of force against civilians or to massive expulsions. If there was reasonable ground for violations, then prosecution was important as a means to safeguard justice and the rule of law. He encouraged the European Union's continued efforts to that end.

In conflict and post-conflict situations, peace and justice must be seen as mutually reinforcing, he said, adding that peace settlements should be consistent with international law. Lack of agreement on political issues was no pretext for not respecting international humanitarian and human rights law. He encouraged the Union to address such concerns and support relevant initiatives within the United Nations towards that end. It must also approach carefully ideas for confidence-building measures, which, in reality, only sustained the status quo.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said the United Nations and European Union had the same goal: to promote peace and prevent future generations from the scourge of war. That was their "peace project". The Union, comprised of 27 member States, contributed more than one third of the regular budget for United Nations peacekeeping operations and cooperated closely with the Organization in all aspects of service delivery, crisis management, humanitarian endeavours, peacebuilding and development. Two examples illustrated the synergy between them - that of Somalia in the Horn of Africa and Mali in the regional context of the Sahel.

She said that the contribution of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was inestimable and remained essential. The Union supported training missions for the national Armed Forces to allow them to assume responsibility for their country's security. It had developed a strategy for security in the Sahel, she said, noting that the international community had correctly focused on Mali in order to address the multidimensional crisis there. Beyond that crisis, the United Nations must swiftly develop an integrated strategy for the Sahel.

The Union was also actively committed in the Middle East, where it was playing a key role, including in the Iranian matter. She was pleased with the planned resumption of talks at the end of the month and hoped those would ultimately lead to a negotiated solution. Also, every effort must be made to reach a political settlement to the Syrian situation. She hoped Damascus would answer the request for dialogue by the Syrian National Council. The Union and United Nations must work hand in hand politically to assist the Syrian population, both inside and outside the country. Close cooperation in the region was vital and, when talks resumed, the parties would need international assistance and a determined commitment on the part of all key stakeholders, she said.

GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) said the Nobel Peace Prize the European Union had received recognized the bloc's contribution over six decades in advancing peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights and was highly deserved. He also highlighted the Union's efforts to address the crisis in Mali with its training mission and support to the African-led International Support Mission through the Africa Peace Facility. The bloc's significant humanitarian and development assistance was an important contribution to restoring stability in Mali. On Syria, his Government shared the Union's view that the international community must do everything it could to promote a credible Syrian-led political transition, which realized the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and created a democratic and pluralistic Syria. Australia also supported the Union's view that those responsible for serious crimes in Syria should be held accountable.

In a critical year for the Middle East Peace Process, continued support by the European Union to the Palestinian Authority and its active participation in the Quartet would be necessary elements to achieving peace. Australia and the Union were vital partners in global security, working together in Afghanistan, committed to achieving long-term stability through security cooperation and development assistance. Australia also recognized the Union's valuable role as partners to the United Nations. The Union and its 27 member States formed the single largest financial contributor to the United Nations, providing a sizeable proportion of the United Nations regular budget at 38 per cent, the United Nations peacekeeping budget at 41 per cent, and support to the United Nations funds and programmes. "This contribution enables the European Union to act as an essential multiplier of our collective efforts on peacekeeping, peacebuilding and conflict prevention," he said.

GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said that his delegation welcomed the "constructive presence" of the European Union within the United Nations, as well as the role the bloc played in the area of peacebuilding and development, and particularly towards the Organization's regular budget. On other matters, he said Guatemala was concerned that the talks with Iran over its nuclear programme had stagnated, and would urge the Union to do more to get them back on track. Nevertheless, he welcomed the new round of sanctions against Iran that the European Union had announced. As for the Middle East peace process, he believed that the Union, as one of the main pillars of the diplomatic Quartet, should spare no effort in bringing the parties back to the negotiating table, so that talks could be relaunched towards a negotiated solution.

As for the situation in Syria, human rights abuses were continuing there and the violence seemed to be getting worse by the day, despite international calls for a political settlement. In that regard, he welcomed the role the European Union was playing in international efforts to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. He also welcomed the role the European Union was playing in the effort to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and he encouraged further measures in that regard, in line with relevant Security Council resolutions. He praised the Union's efforts in Somalia, as well as its training mission that would shortly be launched to help Malian troops regain control of that troubled country. The Union had also hosted a recent meeting in Brussels on Mali, which had brought the international community together in a much-needed show of support for that country and the Sahel region. Guatemala was in favour of strengthening cooperation with regional organizations, including the European Union.

WANG MIN ( China) said the European Union had been an important partner with the United Nations in maintaining peace, stability and security. It had been working closely with the United Nations to bolster diplomacy, enhance peacebuilding and jumpstart development efforts in conflict- and post-conflict countries. Further, the European Union maintained close cooperation with the African Union and other regional and subregional organizations on the continent to address challenges and promote stability in various "hotspots". China encouraged the bloc to continue to provide such support. The Union had rich experience in such areas as humanitarian assistance, preventive diplomacy and peacebuilding that could be shared with other regional and subregional organizations. The Security Council should continue to strengthen its cooperation with regional organizations, including the European Union.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said his Government and the European Union enjoyed excellent relations, and the bloc was one of its key trading and development cooperation partners. More broadly, the Union had been playing a more active role in the work of the United Nations. As Africa was a major focus of the Council's work, the Union was providing support in many areas, as well as working in cooperation with lead African regional and subregional organizations, including the African Union. Specifically, the Mali and the Sahel region needed support and assistance on many fronts, especially the humanitarian situations. While the Union was addressing many relevant challenges in that region, Pakistan hoped the bloc would provide further support to the United Nations integrated strategy for the region.

He went on to welcome the major effort being undertaken by the Union, and particularly by the High Representative herself, to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo. On other matters, he said that the Syrian crisis had assumed "catastrophic proportions", with countless civilian deaths, and nearly 2 million internally displaced persons needing assistance. Syrians themselves needed to launch a political dialogue, but that effort should be supported by the United Nations, the international community and the European Union. Pakistan appreciated the humanitarian assistance the Union was providing people in need. On the Iranian nuclear issue, he encouraged the E3+3 to deepen the diplomatic processes for a negotiated solution and he hoped the talks scheduled for later this month would yield more positive results. As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said that with the two-State solution in "freefall", the Union, especially in light of its role as a main member of the diplomatic Quartet, had a special responsibility to help bring the parties to the table to relaunch the long-stalled negotiations. Finally, he joined others in expressing support for continued cooperation between the Union and the United Nations.

PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said that in Syria, his country and the European Union as a whole had remained steadfast in its support of Mr. Brahimi and his plan to take forward the establishment of a transitional government. He encouraged others to also recognize that President Bashar al-Assad could not be part of a transition if the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people were to be met. The Europeans had imposed sanctions against those in the Assad regime responsible for the violence and suppression, and it had provided substantial humanitarian assistance. Now, innovative ways must be found to deliver that assistance to alleviate the "appalling" situation on the ground.

In Mali and the Sahel, he said, the challenges of extremism must be addressed. The Council was working to deploy a peace operation there once conditions were right. The European Union would deploy a military training mission in support of a democratic government. Its action in Mali and the broader Sahel region also involved delivering vital humanitarian assistance and building security and development for the people in Mali and across the region. In all those endeavours, it worked hand-in-hand with the United Nations' envoy there, including to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000) and to tackle impunity for sexual violence.

In Somalia, he said, international action had already delivered significant gains. The African Union had fought extremism, buttressed by the European Union and United Nations, including through the troop and logistical support. That was a good example of the European Union and the United Nations working together to make a difference and address major international peace and security challenges. The Union also provided training to 3,000 troops to fight alongside AMISOM.

As many in the room had noted, 2013 was a critical year for the Middle East peace process, he agreed. The European Union was working closely with the United Nations, as Quartet members, on various initiatives, including delivering practical assistance to the Palestinian State-building programme. He welcomed efforts in support of Ms. Ashton on the Iranian situation, as well as the continued work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A balanced and credible offer would be presented at the meeting on 26 February. The onus was on Iran to negotiate seriously and to take concrete steps to respond to the concerns. He added that there had been six Council resolutions on the issue, four of which had contained sanctions. The Union was pursuing a dual-track strategy of pressure and engagement. On another matter, it was "driving forward" dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, as that was the best prospect for understanding between them. That would benefit both countries, as well as the region overall.

In closing, he said that the actions of the international community were most effective when they were coherent. Cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union and others continued to contribute to those efforts.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo) supported tightened bonds between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. Meetings such as today's allowed regional stakeholders to share their experiences and lessons learned with the Council; they had real knowledge of the facts on the ground. Cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations was extremely important, especially in the related areas of security policy and common defence. He welcomed the African Union's cooperation with the United Nations in various countries in the continent. In countering piracy, for example, such cooperation off Somalia's shores had helped to save lives. He hoped that cooperation would continue in the Gulf of Guinea. The upcoming summit in April would be an opportunity to set forth ideas on how to strengthen that cooperation.

He highlighted the value of the European Union's integrated approach to preventing and managing crises through political means. Also laudatory was the level of its humanitarian assistance. For example, the organization contributed almost half of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s resources and 80 per cent of the Peacebuilding Fund. It was also a major contributor to peacekeeping operations. He welcomed the announcement of €50 million in support of AFISMA, as well as the Union's training mission and logistical support for the Malian army. Also helpful had been the Union's involvement in the Iranian "nuclear file" and the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia.

In closing, he said that cooperation between the European Union and United Nations had been dynamic, owing to daily exchanges between their secretariats, and he hoped that would assume even greater significance. The Union, however, was "not speaking with one voice" and he was concerned that lessened the impact of its cooperation with the United Nations. Agreement among the Union's member countries in the area of defence and all other global concerns would make it a better partner in addressing such critical matters as those confronting the Middle East and North Africa. Both organizations must bear in mind what the other was doing before entering into new commitments. For example, in developing an integrated strategy for the Sahel, the United Nations should take into account the European Union strategy, which embraced the inextricable link between stability and development.

VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that his country and the European Union had much in common, as they were both "major continental centres of power with great responsibility for the situation in Europe". Thus far, the Russian Federation was satisfied with the development of the relationship between the European Union and the United Nations. Such cooperation must be based on the Charter, however. The Union was providing significant support to the Organization's work in such areas as poverty eradication, elimination of discrimination, provision of humanitarian assistance, and in peacebuilding.

He said that the Russian Federation also positively assessed the efforts of the Union in such country situations as Mali and Afghanistan. He also welcomed the bloc's establishment of regional counter-piracy measures and other efforts to address the range of challenges facing the Horn of Africa. For all its good work, however, the Union should not use its growing prominence to compel members of the United Nations to take decisions that were at odds with the bloc's own policies. Indeed, human rights must not be used as a tool to exert political pressure.

He also noted that the General Assembly resolution that had modified the status of the Union at the United Nations had not altered its position as an Observer. The Union must follow the letter and spirit of that text. He said the Russian Federation was also concerned by the Union's use of unilateral sanction, which could be seen to interfere with measures being implemented by the Council. Union sanctions could also place extra burdens on countries that were on the Council's broader agenda. Further, in taking upon itself the Kosovo issue, the Union must not digress into actions to force a dialogue. Further, Union efforts in that area must not come at the expense of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which was essential, and which had its mandate outlined in detail in Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) said her country welcomed cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, including the European Union. The United Nations Charter supported such cooperation and noted that the Organization could seek out such support in the effort to promote diplomatic and peaceful solutions to crisis situations. She said that such Charter-based cooperation should be extended to other regional collectives dealing with international peace and security. Turning to specific situations, she said the Syrian crisis had devolved into a "catastrophe" and she, therefore, welcomed the efforts of the Union to alleviate the dire humanitarian conditions there. Argentina believed that many of the challenges on the ground were being exacerbated by outside actors that were providing arms and other support to the conflict parties. All outside actors should stop providing such support.

As for the Middle East peace process, she said that it was a "universal challenge", and the Union should play its role, along with the wider international community, to help ensure a negotiated solution. On Iran, she noted that the High-Representative herself had just stressed that sanctions alone would not yield a comprehensive resolution to that issue. Argentina believed that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the broader international disarmament regime should guide all relevant measures. She further called on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA to resolve doubts about its nuclear aims. Turning next to Mali, she noted the recent Brussels conference and the recent announcement by the Union that it would resume its development cooperation efforts as positive developments. Finally, she wholeheartedly welcomed the Union's positive role in such vital areas as women peace and security, and in tackling violence against children, including child soldiers, and conflict-affected women.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said that today's debate highlighted the growing partnership with regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations, as they dealt with ongoing or latent conflicts and multifaceted situations destabilizing entire regions and affecting millions. Morocco attached great importance to that cooperation, and felt the European Union was making a significant contribution to conflict resolution, through its technological and economic assistance and its weighty and cumulative experience with several regions. Its continuing vital contribution to international peace and security was in turn strengthening multilateralism.

Also noteworthy, he said, was the Union's "neighbourhood policy", with its neighbours to the east and south. In the Mediterranean, that relationship had promoted economic development, democracy, and the integration of the six countries in the Mediterranean basin. That instrument of stability intensified the United Nations' efforts to manage crises and build peace. He also welcomed the Union's efforts in support of regional ones to resolve the Middle East conflict, by working to eliminate the obstacles to resuming talks. He, too, hoped 2013 would be a year of prompt and effective implementation of the two-State solution. Everything must be done to turn that vision into a reality.

He said his country also welcomed the European Union's sustained commitments to peace and security, and development in Africa. Those long-term efforts had been strengthened in recent decades in all areas, whether in crisis or post-crisis situations, be they in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, or the entire Sahel region, and most recently, Mali. With respect to the latter crisis, France's prompt intervention had been decisive. He commended the Union's commitment to the Malian people and to all of African, particularly through its support for armed forces reform. He welcomed the announcement of a donor conference for the gradual resumption of development assistance for Mali, after adoption of the transition road map.

He also welcomed the European assistance to Syrian refugees and called on the Union to help put an end to the tragic situation in that country. Its contribution to non-proliferation and disarmament regionally, as well as the development of a collective response to the global terrorist threat were also laudable. Morocco supported the efforts of the E3+3 on the Iranian question and hoped the next meeting would lead to a diplomatic solution. He reiterated the importance of adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and for all States in the Middle East to adhere to IAEA safeguards. He hoped to be able to count on European Union efforts towards the establishment in his region of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

ROSEMARY A. DICARLO ( United States) said that the European Union remained an indispensable partner to the United Nations and United States. It was an important leader in international efforts to address the world's most pressing challenges. Today's briefing illustrated the considerable benefit of strong partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations. The Union was a leader in promoting stability in Europe, she said, noting its engagement in Georgia through the monitoring mission, and its assistance to Kosovo and Serbia, aimed at normalizing those relationships. The Union had also contributed to peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the Security Council-mandated EUFOR mission.

She said that the Union's efforts to advance peace and security went beyond Europe. The Iranian nuclear issue was of serious concern to the entire world, and she appreciated the critical role played by Ms. Ashton in addressing that issue. It was time for Iran to discuss substance. Additionally, the High Representative had strongly condemned the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's most recent nuclear test. The United States would continue to take the steps necessary to defend itself and its allies and would work within the six parties, the Council and other Member States to pursue firm action in that regard.

The Union was also a valued partner in the Middle East, including in the context of the Quartet, she said, expressing her country's ongoing commitment to working with the Union to encourage the parties to create an atmosphere conducive to the resumption of direct talks. On Syria, the international community must come together to end the suffering caused by the ongoing violence, grave human rights abuses, and war crimes. Her country joined the Union in its support of Mr. Brahimi's efforts to find a durable political solution to the crisis.

She said her country welcomed the Union's commitment to provide technical assistance to bolster security and development in societies emerging from conflict, such as in Afghanistan. Its efforts there complemented the work of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other international actors to promote a strong political, economic and social future for the Afghan people. In Mali, her country welcomed the Union's pledge to support AFISMA and commended its armed forces training mission there. Its security strategy in the Sahel complemented the United States' regional approach.

The United States, she said, strongly supported the Union's efforts to strengthen and protect human rights and shared its commitment to protect fundamental freedoms, combat gender-based violence, and promote respect for human rights as the cornerstone of stable democratic societies and essential for international peace and security. Finally, the United States reiterated its commitment to working with the Union and supported its principles and activities in the maintenance of peace around the world.

EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) commended the work of the European Union, including on his continent, and in Eastern Europe to usher in high-level talks between Belgrade and Pristina. The Union was playing an active role in country-specific situations, including Mali, with its support for AFISMA, as well as in Somalia, with its support to AMISOM. He stressed that some support being provided by the Union to the African Union remained ad hoc and appeared, at times, to be politically motivated. As such, there was a need to ensure a more coordinated, coherent and impartial cooperation framework. He also urged the Union to focus its effort on strengthening national justice systems, as a way to help countries deal with impunity and other issues.

Speaking in his national capacity, KIM SOOK (Republic of Korea) said he appreciated the growing cooperation between the Security Council and the European Union in areas such as conflict prevention, crisis management, respect for human rights and peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Such cooperation was of the utmost importance in managing crises worldwide. Above all, he applauded the role the Union was playing in promoting diplomacy, dialogue and peaceful dispute settlement, as witnessed in recent efforts to launch a high-level dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. He also appreciated the European Union's firm position on the recent nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and he hoped the entire international community remained steadfast in its condemnation of the matter, as well as on the need to achieve a political solution.

On other matters, he said that it was high time for the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East process to consider measures to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It was also up to the Union and the United Nations to increase their cooperation in order to come up with an appropriate response to the spiralling crisis in Syria. Despite disagreement among Council members on the path forward, the body was committed to finding a solution. He also noted his delegation's concern about the situation in Mali and the wider Sahel region, and he welcomed the positive contribution and enhanced engagement of the Union to bring about a resolution to the many challenges there.

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